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tv   Mc Laughlin Group  CBS  May 19, 2013 12:00pm-12:30pm EDT

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to you by siemens, across the country, we are building answers and we're building them to last. siemens, answers. issue one. irs target range. >> today secretary lu took the first step by accepting and requesting the resignation of the acting commissioner of the irs. given the controversy surrounding this audit it is important to institute new leadership. i have reviewed the treasury department watchdog's report and the misconduct it uncovered is inexcusable. it is inexcusable and americans are light to be angry about it and i am angry about it. i will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but especially in the irs, given
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the power that it has and the he reach it has in all of our lives. >> reporter: five days after the news broke that the irs the internal revenue service had purposefully targeted for special scrutiny conservative groups like the tea party. president obama announced the resignation of the led of the agency. steven miller, a 25 year veteran of the irs, and its acting commissioner for the past six months, will step down next month. earlier in the week attorney general eric holder announced a criminal investigation to determine where the laws were broken and so targeting the conservative group. the irs admits to the criminal targeting. three years after the complaints began, and probably only because the department of the treasury ordered by congress had investigated the matter and was on the verge of finally making public its findings. now congress is back in the act, big time. multiple hearings are now on the docket.
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the first was friday before the house ways and means committee, where the first to fall, acting commissioner steven miller was in the hot seat. >> first and foremost as acting commissioner i want to apologize on behalf of the internal revenue service for the mistakes we need and the poor service we provided. the effective organizations and the american public deserve better. >> i do not believe parts san ship motivated the people in gauged in the practices described in the report. i have reviewed the treasury inspector general's report and i believe its conclusions are consistent with that. i think what happened here is foolish mistakes were made by people trying to be more efficient in their work load selection. the listing described in the report, while intolerable, was a mistake and not an active partisan ship i don't almost by definition they targeted explicitly one side for this kind of abuse and these
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invasive questions. the per versety of it, john is unbelievable. targeting groups interested in educating about the constitution and the bill of rights. if these folks have the same ideology as most government workers, democrats working for an administration right at the top of the president of the united states has portrayed these tea party groups as dangerous and illegality malt from the very beginning. if it had been progressive groups targeted a year or two complaining about this you better belt it would have been expose and stopped right away. >> eleanor? >> progressive groups were targeted when president bush was in the white house the naacp got extra scrutiny. the partisan taint to this occurred after the news about it came out. you have republicans trying desperately to tie it to president obama, link the white house to somehow ordering or are wink and go nodding to the -- wink and go nodding to the -- winking and nodding on the agencies.
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and you have democrats pointing out this started when a bush appointee was the commissioner and the inspector general who issued the report revealing this behavior was also a bush appointee who testified at this hearing. he said in that i g's report there is no evidence of political bias, this is a bone headed approach to put in words in a search engine so you could zero in on these groups. when the tea party emerged it sure looked like a political party. and i think it is an explanation as to why they singled out that phrase and other phrase and the real scandal here is the abuse of the 501 c-4s that claim to be social welfare organizations. they are not supposed to be doing political activity and it sure looks like a lot of these groups use these designations and they almost half or just under half of their behavior is political. it is a stupid way to ferret
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out these groups and people are going to pay they are going to lose their jobs but i don't think anybody is going to jail john. >> paul did you know about half a dozen or more senate democrats wrote to the irs requesting if not demanding the irs focus on the tea party? >> well there is a lot of abuse of 501 c-4. privileges. but the taint, the taint of partisan ship comes in a sense, from the press and washington which loves stories about partisan ship and is bored by stories of bureaucracy. you know 90% of washington behavior is rooted in the culture of bureaucracy. my magazine has been writing this with the press core. every reporter knows you have a bureaucratic explanation for something your story goes on page 19. if you have a political some nation it goes on a-1. we are
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talking about hoping for a political explanation and we'll be bored to tears if it turns out as the i ghimself has said there was a bureaucratic error not a political error. >> it certainly was ideological. when you number at the number of 501 c-4s that go approval the names were progress, and the ones delayed constitution the bill of rights, never mind tea party. one of them said to make the american family get along better and do better. i mean anything that looked as if it came out of the more con denvertive ideology got delayed and anything that had a more liberal ideology in its name got accelerated. that to me is political. >> what about the impact on the tea party of their fundraising from the accusations that have been pointed at them by senate democrats? >> well i'm sure let me put it this wii. >> you think that fundraising
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is thrown off? in other words they become a weaker institution? >> i don't know. because the tea party, by and large, was raising money from a group of people who were eyed logically committed and politically committed. they expected and could handle criticism from senate democrats. >> hold on eleanor. let's hear from republican speaker john boehner. >> when you say that people should go to jail, are you talking about the front line managers who came up with this inappropriate criteria? or talking about the top brass who didn't admit what happened to congress? >> i want to know how this happened. who was responsible for it. somebody made a decision to do this and i doubt that it was low level employees in the cincinnati field office. >> reporter: question. who is speaker boehner referring to mitch? >> i'm not sure he knows specifically john. it is just a sign of how seriously he takes this. and he is right to have a huge
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element of skepticism. because what we heard initially is all cincinnati, the higher up people didn't know about it and those assurances were false and now we need to eleven what other assurance will be given right now are false and refeed to learn about it under oath i don't let the facts go where they may. but it does lack like you had some mid-level bureaucrats who did this and their names are going to come out. they are protected by the civil service. you only have two political appoint ease in the irs so there is really nobody to fire, there is no evidence that there is this isly evil. this is inappropriate excuse me i don't they hid it from congress. they would not say. >> i don't know that. >> i don't know that hiding something from congress is illegal either. >> it might not be illegal. it is wrong. >> making false statements to congress. >> how about conspiracy? depriving americans of their civil liberties? how about the hatch affect forbidding civil service from engaging in political activity
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for starters? >> now not when you start out with an inspector general's report saying there is no evidence of political bias. an inspector general appointed by president bush. you have to stretch to find a trail. >> to find a crime. >> and to fine a crime that leads to the oval office. >> do you think president obama thinks driven i on that issue and that is of particular concern to the white house? namely that there could be criminal prosecution? >> well eric holder is having a criminal investigation to see if there is a crime. but incompetence is not illegal. >> incompetence? >> clearly what we had here is bureaucratic incompetence. >> i don'tee how incompetence could be the right word. accelerated one group. >> okay. let's hear what the tea party itself says about the irs quote unquote crimes. >> this is clearly an overreach
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of government. they are way outside their bounds. >> reporter: many of the tea party groups singled out operate with small budgets. but the government questionnaires were ridiculously extensive and intrusive. lawrence norton is the executive director of the richmond virginia-based tea party. mr. norton says the irs had asked his group beginning in 2010, more than two years ago, for an estimated 500 pages of documents including all of norton's communications, and the names of every donor. >> it got creepy to be honest with you. question is this the kind of scrutiny charles assume mer demanded from the irs in
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handling tea party applications? rich and. >> reporter: there was a general atmosphere where these people could have felt they are being egged on to on do this. one of the defenses is this is their filter to do this more efficiently. it is not efficient to ask these detailed questions to go back round after round and to delay them for years when you are sweeping the progressive groups right in and giving them a stamp of approval. that is not just a bureaucratic error that is unbelievable on the face of it. >> i don't know progressive groups were swept if. >> they were. they got the rubber stamp. >> reporter: but you had 250 employees he have denly dealing with 70,000 applications. they shouldn't have the discretion to make these decisions based on vague deadlines. how do you decide what is political and what is educational? frankly a lot of this looks political it me. i think they ought to do away
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with this tax exemption left and right. i think it is a scam, they are getting a beneficial tax treatment from the federal government to conduct political activity that they are disguising as social welfare. >> they wanted to be under section 501 c-4 of the tax code based on certain forms of taxation. it is a serious matter correct? the question is what laws may have been broken and. >> i don't know what the laws are. but there has to be some law that must have required they act reasonably and fairly and judiciously. if you give both sides the same treatment. if you are asking are members of your family going to run for political office? and you are only asking them of and people, those are the ones you give the grown light to and the others you hold back something is wrong with that. i don't know if it is criminal but it should be i don't in comparison to the tea party you have bus for progress a new jersey pron profit, they got their irs approval for a social
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welfare group and they got their tax exemption. another group missourians organizing. you have progress florida, they got their exemption. >> some con seventive gropes got their exemptions too. >> wait a minute. wait a minute. i want to hear from you. >> i don't think there is a single can't servetive and wait a minute. wait a minute. >> john. some of them were denied. >> kept them wit fog three years. >> john you have to get the political implications here. 49% of the upon i could have been spend on political campaigns. the ones that were going to be clearly on the conservative side were held up. liberal were approved. it has a political dimension a lot of people gave money to these because they were anonymous. their money therefore could be used in the political campaign. the money from the conservative side was held back. >> there was so much money in
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last camote that -- mort, that whatever was held up here wouldn't make a tinkle's worth of difference. >> maybe not to you. all the progressive groups were cleared almost immediately. >> liberals yes. conservatives no. when we come back an associated press sweep.
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28 employees cell phone lines the record sweep was to find out who in the government had leaked to the ap the details of a in the to blow-up a u.s. airliner by an al qaeda affiliated group in yemen.
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the plot was foiled by the cia. on monday of this week the ap blasted the feds over the probe. quote there can be for possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of the associated press and its reporters. these records potentially reveal confidential communications by the ap during a two month period, provide a roadmap to ap's news gathering information and disclose information about ap activities and operations that the government has for conceivable right to know. we regard this action by the department of justice as a serious interference with ap constitutional rights to gather and report the news. unquote. question. was the broad sweep of this subpoena intended solely to catch the leaker?
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or was it intended to cripple ap's news gathering? paul? >> 100% to get the leaker. that is the obsession here. remember what started this. a double agent we had in yemen looking at the most danger terrorist if the world was exposed by somebody. we don't know who. the press is getting trampled under the foot of a leak investigation as always happens. >> reporter: let's hear from the president. here's the president's response. >> i make no apologies. i don't think the american people would expect me as commander in chief not to be concerned about information that might compromise missions or might get them killed we can
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look where free press free ration and the open flow of unless helps hold mia counsellable homes hold our government accountable and to the extent this case prompt renewed interest about how do we strike that balance properly, i think that is a worthy conversation to have. >> what do you think of that? were you properly elected? >> i tell you, i think he makes sense, as far as i'm concerned. i do think this is an unbelievable situation. they could have handled it better. to my mind the justice department was absolutely entitled to go after whatever the source was that blew this guy's coverage with an al qaeda reference in yes, ma'am platts energy and i'm very, very critical. man it was a critical piece of intelligence that we had and somehow or other it got leaked. that is something the government has to pursue. >> the ap apparently is now bleeding. you know why? because the contacts they had
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used are now freezing. they don't want to expose them because of the dangers involved. do you understand that? >> i understand that. but i also think the president made sense. and the subpoena may have been overbroad, but the principal that it is not okay to traffic in illegally obtained classified information is correct. but the press's reaction is so instructive. when there is the slightest potential infringement on the first amendment they go crazy. they treat the nra as if it is nuts ask the tea party the same way when it cares about all the amendments if the constitution. >> the head of the ap says it is quote unquote deeply damaging. do you believe him? i don't it has a chilling effect on sources which is why journalists fight it. the who is has their side. i think it is a length that the side. my instinct is to side with the
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journalists but i have to listen to the president on there one and the justice department was operating legally within the patriot act and now the white house is apparently backing a shield law for the media and congress and that is a worthy thing to have. >> you may remember the republicans had been trying for this. >> that's right they said the administration leaked this themselves to make the president look good during the election. question would president obama be equally likely to support a sweeping subpoena of his zone staff and his own reelection campaign staff with their phone records to probe for any of their possible collusion with the irs to intimidate his political foes? >> that is a silly ideological rant that done even deserve an answer. >> i thought it was a good question john. >> the answer is no. >> no. i'm going to go out on a limb and say i think not as well. i agree with eleanor they would not support any sweeping subpoena of their own people. although the press in some respects it is their own people
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could. >> that is one of the questions raised. the ap is saying their sources are frozen. >> i'm sure one of the things. >> we rely on the ap to give us news. >> we rely on the ap to give us news but there seems was an absolutely legitimate pursuit on the part of the government and i support the president's comments. >> no organization is going to exist solely on a leaker from the administration. >> on monday may 13th, doj, broke the sore he story about subpoenaing ap's phone records from the last year. the chilling effect hits now in the aftermath of the irs story. we'll be right back with prescriptions. have a good night. here you go. you, too.
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weaken and the only force we have to counselor veil it is going to be the efforts of ben bernancke and the federal reserve word. >> i'll wind up. i predicted if the upcoming virginia election mcall live former chairman of the dnc virginia attorney general. the winner will be couch nellie. bye bye. tim -- you're mulch-flipping again, aren't you? hey scott -- yeah, it fades after awhile, so...
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